3/31/09

My ML for the MLP

**If you haven't heard about the Mother Letter Project, you should check it out. Maybe even submit your own letter. It's a really cool idea and the proceeds go to something even cooler. And I've become friends with the creators (through cyberspace) and I really like their digs! Here's the letter I finally finished just last week:

Dear Mother,

I was only 21 when I got married. Eighteen months later, I became a mother – a young, very inexperienced mother. The first night in the hospital, after my son was born, he woke me with the loudest cry I’d ever heard. And his crying continued many months afterward. Sam was a high energy baby, a vigorous eater and a hard sleeper, once he actually got to sleep that is. My husband and I spent countless hours bouncing him while walking circles around our coffee table, trying to get him calm enough to settle into slumber. Sam was about five months old when I began to admit to myself that Motherhood was not exactly the bliss I’d hoped for. I found myself sleep deprived and angry nearly all the time. I began to worry I would become one of those women who shakes their babies to death, so I decided to go to therapy. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made as a Mom.

In therapy I found the root of some of my anger: I had not forgiven my own Mother for her shortcomings in caring for me and my siblings. It took several months and actually moving away from my Mother for those feelings to change. But eventually I got to the place where I realized she had truly done the best she could. In forgiving her, I found the freedom I needed to lower some of the incredibly unrealistic expectations I’d placed on myself. And I learned that no one can do better than his or best. Our best is all we have to offer as parents. So in those moments when I’m running late and my children will not even get in the car, let alone be buckled in their car seats. If I can take a breath and ask myself, “are you doing the best you can?” I’m less likely to verbally or physically abuse them in order to gain their fearful obedience. When I answer “yes, I’m doing my best,” I am let off the hook and no longer completely responsible for every single atom in the universe. 

Because, let’s be honest, even the best Mom can not control all the things her child will face in his life. And it’s not our job to control it all. It’s not our job to protect them from all of life’s hurts. Of course we wisely keep them from danger, but we are not completely in charge of every little thing that happens to them. We are in charge of loving them the best we can. And when our best love is not enough, we must pray for our children. In fact, we should pray every day, and for the rest of their lives, for Christ to come and shine His light on the dark holes in their hearts – the ones created by people, life and the world – pour His dirt, and sow His Love seeds. For God is the only One capable of perfect love. May His perfect love drive out our fears of failing as a Mother and free us all up to do the very best we can.

Love,  Janna

5 comments:

Amber@theRunaMuck said...

This is so right, Janna. I love this letter. I confess that sometimes I act like I want to control every atom in the universe, but that is clearly dumb because I rarely even control what I eat.

I'm also so glad you brought up forgiveness. I think it's as important to mothering as touch.

Jerusalem said...

Beautiful my friend!

Teela said...

ouch.. but you are right, I did the best I knew how to do. Your children are blessed to have you as their mom.

Tricia said...

Beautifully written. That is awesome, Janna. So true...

grandmarockton said...

none of us had a PLAN---- but we all do the BEST we can and HOPE someone will help us be the BEST WE CAN BE as mother have been doing since the begining of time. GOD watches over Mothers, too!